Archive for December, 2013

Let's Restore A Merlyn Formula Ford with Eric Dean

VSCDA Racer and occasional Chicane contributor Eric Dean is no stranger to stunning Formula Ford and Formula Vee restorations. For his most recent project, Eric has virtually opened up his garage and cracked a few Stroh’s so we can build a 1969 Merlyn Mk11A Formula Ford along with him.

You can really see the level of effort that goes in to making even a simple racing car this well prepared. Whenever I see these time lapse videos, I’m pulled in two directions at once. Part of me looks at these, and thinks, “There. That doesn’t look impossible. This guy is practically doing it by himself.” But time lapse is deceptive. If we slowed this video down and watched even a single afternoon of restoration in real-time, we would start to realize the hundreds of hours of meticulous work that is really behind these restorations.

Television audiences have come to expect that gorgeous automotive restorations can get done in 5 days. I think that devalues the real artistry, engineering, and skill that goes into shaving decades off a car’s age. Making a car as good as it was the day it left the workshop—or better—is no small task. It’s almost an insult to think that anything of this level of quality can be carelessly rushed.

That racers like Eric take on these projects is admirable. That they can then get in the pilot’s seat and put thoughts of the hundreds or thousands of hours of effort out of their minds while they squeeze a few more tenths out of a lap in high traffic… Well, that’s something else. I must be foolish to think that it’s not the risk to life and limb, but the risk of sacrificing all this effort that is some additional bravery.

Congratulations Eric, she’s gorgeous.

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Vintage Safety

Cooper Roll bar

There was a time when this roll hoop passed tech inspection. Eesh.

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Lynndale Farms Raceway Then and Now

I wonder if any of the homeowners that live in the neighborhood built on the bones of the Lynndale Farms Raceway know of the history of the streets in front of their suburban homes. I wonder if any of them turn into their subdivision on their commute home and blip the throttle downshifting for the corners, imagining themselves sitting in a Austin-Healey or Cooper 500 as they apex the turn in front of the Peterson’s house.

I sure would. Hell, I do all of that now and I don’t live on a former race track.

Props to Tim Cahill for pointing this out on the Vintage Road Racing Archive Facebook Group.

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I Am Not This Smooth

Porsche Speedster Cartoon

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Higgins—I’ll have your daughter in bed before midnight.”

To be fair, few of us are as smooth as Playboy cartoon characters. Then again, maybe if I spent my single years picking up dates in a Speedster I would have been.

via Porsche Classic.

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Maserati Will Be Featured at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Masers in the Corkscrew2014 is the 100th anniversary of Maserati and they’ll be highly visible at several events next year. The announcement came out today that they’ll be the featured marque at the 2014 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.

If it guarantees that there’ll be more scenes like this one of a ’57 250F leading a ’39 4CL through the Corkscrew, then 2014 will be a photogenic year indeed.

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Factories at Work: Jaguar, 1961

If you thought sportscar design has diminished over the past few decades, this narrator will turn your attention as well to the state of voiceover work.

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All Chicane Shirts Are Back In Stock

Chicane Vintage Racing T-Shirts

I know I’m cutting it close, but just in time for some last minute stocking stuffers for the racing fan in your life… Or you. Probably for you… it’s OK, you deserve it.

Some of these I’ve been incredibly delinquent in re-ordering, so it’s been quite a while since the Riverside or Legends of the 60’s shirts have been available.

Head on over to the Chicane Shop for more.

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Footage of Ecurie Ecosse in Action

For the none of you that need a reminder of why the Ecurie Ecosse team and it’s iconic transporter are so important, Bonhams assembled this marvelous video with some little-seen racing footage of the team in various years of competition.

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A Farewell Road Trip with a Legend

Goodwood TV tagged along with (now former) Ecurie Ecosse collection owner Dick Skipworth as the 1959 Commer TS3 Ecurie Ecosse transporter made her farewell journey to the Bonhams auction in London from Buckinghamshire. Two days later the iconic transporter brought in a staggering £1.7 Million. I’m more interested in the passing of stewardship from one enthusiast to another than I am in the loot it brought in… And Dick is a true enthusiast. You can tell that this was a bittersweet moment for Dick and I love seeing this wistful interview with him.

I echo Dick’s sentiments when he expresses his hopes that the transporter, and the entire collection, goes to a new home and owner that will use them properly. He frequently describes the transporter as practical and useful. Just like classic racing cars should be used to race, classic racing car transporters should be used to transport racing cars. Only time will tell if Dick’s dreams for the future of the Ecurie Ecosse collection come to pass.

I haven’t seen any further confirmation of this, but Dick Skipworth seems to think that the transporter, C-Type, and D-Type all went to the same Stateside bidder—which is fantastic news (for those of us on this side of the pond). The fact that Dick’s son took home the Sprite is also a wonderful result!

Via FortyOneSix

Edit: Just this morning, Sports Car Market confirmed that the C-Type, D-Type, and transporter did indeed all go to the same U.S. buyer!

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No Classic Sportscars Were Injured in the Creation of this Artwork

Artist Fabian Oefner creates the illusion of beautifully exploding machines using a combination of modelmaking, sketching, photography, and digital manipulation. They’re almost balletic in how delicately they’re presented.

The results are still arrestingly beautiful, but part of me was disappointed to see that these are more Photoshop than sculptural. How fantastic would that exploded P4 look on your mantle as a physical object in the vein of a small scale version of Jonathan Schipper’s “Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle”? Time to break out the Testors.

via Top Gear.

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